How do I make street fair style zeppoles?
November 2, 2008 12:16 AM   Subscribe

How do I make street fair style zeppoles?

I have tried three different recipes for zeppoles: Recipe I, Recipe II, and a third recipe that was baking powder, flour, water and sugar. The first recipe had the right texture, but did not have the flavor or moistness of street fair zeppoles. The second recipe was delicious in its own right and much closer to the taste of street fair zeppoles, but the texture was completely different (much moister, less chewy). The third recipe was completely wrong.
All of the recipes I have found are very similar to the three I have tried, or they use ricotta, which I find very unlikely for a street fair. I have never had a zeppole outside of the New York/New Jersey area, and I am not looking to make anything authentically Italian, just the chewy, greasy sort found at street fairs.
posted by miscbuff to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
there's 2 entirely different types of zeppole in Naples, the first one being somewhat like deep-fried donuts, with a yeast dough, and the second one are baked, made with a cooked dough, similar to choux or churros dough, usually topped with a spoonful of egg custard and a couple sour cherries (these are called "Zeppole di San Giuseppe" (they're a traditional treat for the 19th of March, St. Joseph). You have recipes for both, from your post I'm thinking you're after the first kind (doses are metric) and instead of loops you will probably want to make walnut-sized balls.

1 kg all purpose flour, 300g butter, 200g sugar, 5 eggs, 250g milk, 1 1/2 cubes of fresh yeast (they're 25g each, so total is about 1 1/3 oz), a pinch of salt, a few drops of vanilla extract OR the grated zest of a lemon (organic!)

(sugar+cinnamon powder to sprinkle on the cooked zeppole)

mix yeast, a glass of warm milk, a tsp. of sugar and a couple Tsp. of flour, let rise until doubled;

mix in with the other ingredients in a bowl, knead for about 20' to a smooth ball, cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled;

knead again for a couple minutes, form sticks about 8" long by 1/2" thick, join the ends, cover again and let rise on a top for about an hour;

deep-fry in oil, sprinkle with sugar+cinnamon, eat at least 10.

(as a sidenote: in Naples, when one has a lisp, they say he has a zeppola in his mouth)
posted by _dario at 1:43 AM on November 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like the recipes with ricotta in them and to me they do taste like the stuff you get in NYC (albeit slightly more upscale). If you follow the link you can see how mine turned out and get the recipe Sherry Yard (born and bred in Brooklyn and an excellent pastry chef) created.
posted by idest at 7:00 AM on November 2, 2008

Those recipes make it far too complex. Here's what I did when I lived in NY:

1. Find a neighborhood bakery, stop by and ask for some dough.
2. Heat oil in deep cast-iron pan
3. Break off chunks of dough and toss in the oil until fried. Turn as needed.
4. Toss in paper bag with powdered sugar and a pinch of salt.

You can roll the dough into ball shapes if you really wanted to, but it tastes the same.
posted by mikepop at 5:50 AM on November 3, 2008

My dear Aunt Angie, a first-generation Italian-American from New Rochelle, New York, who, despite being born in the US, spoke with an Italian accent, made them pretty simply, and they turned out like the ones miscbuff described in the post.

They were chewy and twisted ropes of sugary, doughy goodness. I am somewhat sure that the dough was either regular bread dough, or was prepared similarly such that my ten year old self couldn't tell the difference. I don't think there was any cheese in the dough, and there definitely wasn't any batter or frosting. Standard eating procedure was to take the cooked dough and dip it in white sugar before each bite.
posted by zippy at 6:30 AM on November 3, 2008

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